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ArtfulScribe's LIT FEST 2024

09 February 2024

News and Opportunities for Writers and Writing
ArtfulScribe LIT FEST 2024
8th - 10th March I In-Person
MAST Mayflower Studios

ArtfulScribe presents LIT FEST 2024 at MAST Mayflower Studios, in partnership with the Department of English at University of Southampton, and supported by Arts Council England.

Featuring a diverse, community-focused programme of showcases, workshops, open-mics and free events, LIT FEST 2024 supports established poets and new voices, alongside the festival’s theme: International Women.

For the full festival lineup and tickets please click here
Studio 3 I Saturday 9th I 90 mins I £10 a session
Joelle Taylor I Elizabeth Parker I Stuart Bartholomew

Writing the Female Experience: Poetry workshop with Joelle Taylor

Join multi award winning poet Joelle Taylor on a journey through her TS Eliot Prize-winning collection C+NTO & Othered Poems, exploring the techniques and ideas she used to create it. From praise poetry to inventing new forms, this masterclass is for women who want to write themselves.

Joelle Taylor’s most recent poetry collection C+NTO & Othered Poems won the 2021 T.S Eliot Prize, the 2022 Polari Book Prize for LGBT authors, and is currently being adapted for theatre. She was the 2022 Saboteur Spoken Word Artist of the Year and her latest novel The Night Alphabet is published in February Susmita Bhattacharya leads this supportive group for women to develop skills and confidence in Creative Writing, inspiring new writing through workshop prompts, reading choices, and life experiences. 

09:30 - 11:00 am I Saturday 9th I  Studio 3 I £10

Register for tickets here

Elizabeth Parker: Write Your River

We have rivers within us all as well as outside us. Our rivers are personal, cultural, mythological. Present river and rivers we remember. Through poems inspired by rivers, along with short and longer writing exercises, we will explore our thoughts and feelings about rivers, experimenting with poetic forms and techniques. 

Elizabeth Parker has been published in various journals, including Magma, The Stony Thursday Book, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Salzburg, and Agenda. She has been shortlisted for various prizes, including the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition and The Bridport Prize. She was a prize-winner in the 2016 Troubadour International Poetry Prize. Following her 2016 pamphlet, Antinopolis (published by Eyewear), Elizabeth has published two collections with Seren, In Her Shambles (2018) and Cormorant (2024). Elizabeth now lives in Bristol with her partner and two sons.

11:30 - 1:00 pm I Saturday 9th I Studio 3 I £10

Register for tickets here

Stuart Bartholomew: Tips and Tricks for Getting Published

This session with publisher and festival programmer Stuart Bartholomew will help you understand the publishing landscape and understand the actions you can take (and avoid) to give you the best chance of getting your poetry published. You will be provided with everything you need to know to have the best chance of letting your poetry do the talking when you submit your work. We will also discuss how to deal with rejection and what a ‘no’ from a publisher really means (as well as what it doesn’t). Whatever your level you will come away ready for the next step on your poetry journey whether that be attempting to have your first poem published, submitting a pamphlet or a full collection.

Stuart Bartholomew is Publisher at and Co-Founder of VERVE Poetry Press – an independent press that focuses on publishing poets from Birmingham and the wider UK. He is also Director and Programmer of VERVE: a Birmingham Festival of poetry and spoken word, which returns for its eighth year in February 2025. His publishing and programming vision is to celebrate the full breadth of quality poetic activity – whatever the style or source – in colourful and exciting ways.

1:30 - 3:00 pm I Saturday 9th I Studio 3 I £10

Register for tickets here


In-person I MAST Mayflower Studios I £8
Joelle Taylor I Small Press I Modern Poetry in Translation

Joelle Taylor Showcase

Join Joelle Taylor on International Women's Day for an evening showcasing poetry from some of the UK’s best female writers. Hosted and headlined by Joelle, the evening features performances from: the Edinburgh Makar, Hannah Lavery; Forward Prize-nominated poet Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa; and TS Eliot Prize nominee Fran Lock.

More about the artists:

Hannah Lavery is a Scottish poet and playwright. She was appointed Edinburgh Makar (or city poet) in 2021. Her debut collection, Blood Salt Spring was shortlisted for the 2022 Saltire Scottish National Poetry Book Award. The Drift, her autobiographical lyric play toured with the National Theatre of Scotland, and is to be adapted as a radio drama for BBC Radio 4.  

Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa is a British born Barbadian raised poet, dancer, choreographer and researcher. She is an Obsidian Foundation fellow, Apples & Snakes/Jerwood Arts Poetry in Performance recipient and currently studying for a PhD in Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. Her first collection Cane, Corn & Gully was shortlisted for the Rathbones Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

Fran Lock Ph.D. is the author of numerous chapbooks and ten poetry collections. Her most recent Hyena! is shortlisted for the 2023 TS Eliot Prize. She is the Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at Cambridge University, an Associate Editor at Culture Matters, and a member of the new Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry.

8:00 - 9:45 pm I Friday 8th I Studio 2 I £8

Register for tickets here

Small Press Showcase

ArtfulScribe invites two of the UK’s most exciting small presses to present award-winning writers and performers from their roster at MAST Studios, for a stacked bill of live-literary goodness.

Seren, Wales’ leading independent literary publisher and VERVE Poetry Press, a Birmingham-based poetry indie, will exhibit innovative poets and poetry at the Small Press Showcase on Saturday 9th March. These readings will feature Rachael ClyneVanessa Lampert, Taz Rahman and Elizabeth Parker from Seren, and Jemima HughesTim Tim ChengErica Gillingham and Ellora Sutton from VERVE Poetry Press.

All performers will be reading from their most recent publications - this is THE event to catch the sharpest poetry written in the UK, supported by presses who are breaking the boundaries of literature and spoken word whilst advocating for intersectional voices.

4:00 - 6:00 pm I Saturday 9th I Studio 3 I £8

Register for tickets here

Modern Poetry in Translation Showcase 

Modern Poetry in Translation brings together the best new poetry, essays and reviews from around the world. Aiming to give voice to the silenced, exiled and excluded, MPT represents a diverse and creative community of translators, poets and readers.

Harriet Truscott is a poet, translator and arts creator, currently living on the wind-swept Spanish Atlantic coast. She translates the work of Spanish-Mexican poet Concha Mendez, a friend of Lorca and Buñuel, whose transgressive life and moving poetry has been recently 'rediscovered' by readers. Harriet is currently working on a verse novel, inspired by historical events, which tells the story of a young Puritan woman's voyage from Lincolnshire to Massachusetts.

Adham Smart is a writer and translator from London, whose writing credits include the RialtoAnd Other Poems, the Missing Slate, ISIS, and Poetry London. Adham's writing has also featured in The Cadaverine Anthology and The Salt Book of Younger Poets. He has contributed translations to Six Georgian Poets (Arc Publications). His debut collection, yes yes mouth, is published by Valley Press, and he is the translator of the Georgian novel All the World’s Mysteries by David Dephy.

1:00 - 2:00 pm I Sunday 10th I Studio 3 I FREE 

Register for tickets here


In-person I MAST Mayflower Studios I Free
Keynote: Intl Women's Day I Open Mic I Community Showcase

Keynote: International Women's Day

A variety of talks presented by University of Southampton’s English Department in response to this year's festival focus: International Women. 

As part of International Women’s Day, ArtfulScribe and University of Southampton share a presentation, exploring three perspectives discussing The Female Gaze. From the intimate sensory and distinctly feminist gaze to the way queerness rescues sad heterosexual heroines, this discussion considers the intricacies of women in modern society.

6:30 - 7:30 pm I Friday 8th I Café/Bar I Free

Register for tickets here
Write A Note/Winchester Muse Open Mic

Spoken word artists from Write a Note share the stage with fellow writers from Winchester Muse, in this LIT FEST 2024 ‘Open Mic’ special. 

This free curated event welcomes local Winchester and Southampton writers to the stage to share their poetry and spoken prose, featuring work from historical hysteria to feminist fusion. LIT FEST 2024’s ‘Open Mic’ is free to attend but the event is ticketed and must be booked in advance. All artists have been invited to perform by their affiliated ‘Open Mic’ hosts, pre-event.

7:30 - 9:30 pm I Saturday 9th I Studio 3 I Free

Register for tickets here

Community Showcase

The ArtfulScribe Community Showcase brings together writers from across ArtfulScribe's literary development programmes for this intergenerational showcase, celebrating their collaborative process and new writing from this year. 

ArtfulScribe’s Community Showcase presents work from SO: Write Women, Writing for Wellbeing, Mayflower Junior and Young Writers, Mayflower Creative Writers, and Writing for Page and Stage. Join us for this special gathering of community writers to mark the end of LIT FEST 2024 and to celebrate work produced over the last year.

3:30 - 6:00 pm I Sunday 10th I Studio 2 I Free

Register for tickets here

LIT FEST 2024 Programme 
An overview of this year's festival 

Friday 8th March

Keynote: International Women’s Day - Cafè/Bar area - 6:30 - 7:30 pm - Free
Joelle Taylor Showcase - Studio 2 - 8:00 - 9:45 pm - £8

Saturday 9th March

Joelle Taylor: Writing the Female Experience - Studio 3 - 9.30 - 11.00 am - £10
Elizabeth Parker: Write Your River - Studio 3 - 11:30-1:00 pm - £10
Stuart Bartholomew: Tips and Tricks for Getting Published - Studio 3 - 1:30-3:00 pm  - £10 
Small Press Showcase (VERVE Poetry Press and Seren Books) - Studio 3 - 4:00 - 6:00 pm - £8
Write A Note/Winchester Muse Open Mic - Studio 3 - 7:30 - 10:00 pm - Free

Sunday 10th March 

Modern Poetry in Translation Showcase - Studio 3 - 1:00 - 2:00 pm - Free
Community Showcase - Studio 2 - 3:30 - 6:00 pm - Free

News from around the Solent Region
Events and Opportunities in Hampshire and Dorset
Writers in Conversation with Carole Burns - Tuesday 20th Feb I 6:00 pm I UOS Avenue Campus, Lecture Theatre C I Free - Writers in Conversation will be flipping the tables this month when WIC director Carole Burns is interviewed about her debut novel, “The Same Country,” in our first event of the Spring 2024.

The Clockwork Poetry Machine book launch - Sunday 25th February I 3:00 - 5:00 pm I Forest Arts Centre, New Milton I Free - Postumus book launch of Keith Bennett's final poetry collection, The Clockwork Poetry Machine.

Poetry Open Mic Night at The Imaginarium - Wednesday 21st February I 6:30 - 8:15 pm I The Imaginarium, Lymington I Free - A chance to enjoy poetry with like-minded people, whether it was written by yourself, a loved one, or is an old classic, all are welcome at this relaxed event, to enjoy some poetry together. This event is free but you must RSVP to

Portsmouth BookFest 2024 - 12th February - 3rd March I Across Portsmouth I Prices vary - From Dame Sheila Hancock to poet John Agard, Portsmouth BookFest presents a wide range of events for all ages in a variety of welcoming locations across the city.
We work with people from primary years to life's later stages. Help us help others make the most of life's opportunities by contributing to our cause to improve literacy levels in Hampshire and Dorset. Thank you.
If you'd like your events or opportunities for writers in the region to feature in our newsletter or social media, please drop a line to


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